Posted by: Phil Anderson | August 24, 2014

Separation Anxiety

We took a daughter to college this weekend to start her freshman year. She’s moved into her dorm and her roommate seems nice. It’s a good school and I’m sure she’ll stay busy and do well and make friends. Despite all that confidence, it was hard to drive away and return home without her.

When a writer is advised to “write what you know” it doesn’t necessarily refer to facts or settings or events. It’s just as important to write about feelings and emotions that are real and not imagined. In that spirit, here’s an excerpt from my work-in-process, Conquest of Theran: Overthrow, as influenced by (but not necessarily based on) my experience of the last few days.

Sirah is a farmer’s daughter. Wesser, the overlord’s son, is desirous of her and has threatened Sirah and her family.

       Sirah took her father’s arm. “What are we going to do now?” she asked.

       “You’re going to hide somewhere safe,” he said, putting his hand on hers. “Your friend may be able to distract Wesser for a while, but eventually he will come back for you.”

       Sirah was torn between her fear of Wesser and loyalty to her family. “Where will I go?” she asked.

       Phred spoke up and offered to help her get away. Sirah felt a sense of relief that she wouldn’t have to escape alone. She had only known Phred since that morning, but she felt comfortable with the tall, brown-haired minstrel. He was like the older brother she never had.

       Still, Sirah had never been away from her family for more than a day. Tears came to her eyes and she threw her arms around her father’s neck. “I’m going to miss you,” she whispered. Saying it made it more real, and she couldn’t hold back the sobs that welled up inside her.

       Her father held her in his strong arms. He sniffed back a few tears, but then Sirah felt his steady, deliberate breathing. Strength flowed into her like a cup being filled with hot water from a kettle.

       He squeezed her tightly. “Be strong, Sirah,” he said. “Someday this will be over and we’ll be together again.”

       She knew what she had to do, and she would do it. She took a deep breath, wiped the tears from her face, and sniffed. She was ready.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Please leave comments below.



  1. I really like your writing style.

  2. […] Separation Anxiety […]

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